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Vito C. Rizzo

April 23, 2023

Vito C. Rizzo, age 80, of Rome, passed away April 23, 2023, surrounded by his family. Born December 17, 1942, he was the son of Vito and Anna (Valvo) Rizzo. He was a proud graduate of Rome Free Academy and Utica College (then part of Syracuse University). Vito retired after more than 30 years with the CNY Developmental Disabilities Services Office .He worked as a Developmental Specialist at Rome Developmental Center, then served as the first Administrator of the Bridge Street Day Treatment Center in Verona.

Vito lived a life of service. He was a life-long Boy Scout, earning the rank of Eagle as a teen. He then served in numerous volunteer roles at the local, Council, and National levels as an adult, from Troop Leader to District Commissioner to Chaplain for the summer camping programs. He was active in the Syracuse Diocese’s Committee on Scouting, and in the National Catholic Committee on Scouting. Vito helped countless young Scouts earn their religious emblems. He received numerous honors for his service; among them the Silver Beaver and the St. George’s Medal.

He also served his faith community, St. John the Baptist parish, as a long-time lector and Eucharistic Minister. In retirement, Vito took delight as a Lay Ecclesial Minister, bringing Communion to people who could no longer attend Mass.

Vito found joy when he embodied the spirit of Santa during the Christmas season. Whether in full regalia, or “undercover” around town in his red wool jacket and hat, Vito’s white beard and twinkling eyes enchanted many children, who asked him, “Are you really Santa?” To which his reply was always, “Do you believe?”

Vito’s memory will be cherished by his family, children: Christine Rizzo (Timothy La Goy); Anna Oliver (Darrell Oliver); Mary Rizzo (Michael Bonney) and Vito C. Rizzo, Jr. (Janell Rizzo); his grandchildren: Andrew Oliver; Aaron Oliver (Gabrielle Clark-Oliver); Christine Oliver; Dasey Rizzo; Jordan Elliot; Vito C. Rizzo III; Kaden Elliot; and Lorenzo J. Rizzo; and his great-grandchildren: Ryan Claire and Carmen Elaine Oliver. He is also survived by beloved nephews, nieces, and cousins. He was predeceased by his parents and his brother, Lorenzo “Larry” Rizzo.

Calling hours will be held on Friday, April 28, 2023, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at The Bottini Funeral Home, 120 W. Embargo St. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, 11:00am April 29, 2023 at St. John the Baptist Church, 210 E. Dominick St., with the Rev. Paul F. Angelicchio officiating.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to The Leatherstocking Council, BSA, 1401 Genesee St., Utica, NY 13501.

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